A German teen with Tourette syndrome was punched out cold for Heil-ing Hitler in front of a black man who didn’t realize the gesture was involuntary.
The tragic miscommunication occurred on a Hamburg subway when 16-year-old Gerrit Oeller followed up the Nazi arm-thrust with a wild smile, reports the Daily Mail:
Gerrit said: ‘He asked me if I thought it was funny and it made me nervous, which made me clench my teeth and he thought I was grinning at him. That was when he hit me. I went out like a light.’
The boy was treated for cuts and swelling. His mom told the Mail she wants the puncher “to know that our son really is sick and it is a genuine condition.”
Tourette syndrome sufferers exhibit uncontrollable physical and verbal tics. In some cases tics can be offensive: swear words, slurs, insults, vulgar gestures. Gerrit has the particular misfortune of owning a tic synonymous with genocide and white supremacy.
Its bizarre symptoms make Tourette syndrome an oft-misunderstood neurological disorder. Check out the informative videos on YouTube including this BBC segment: